About Kate: Kate Millin is assistant director, libraries, archives and adult learning, at Dudley Metropolitan Council. Her responsibilities include ensuring that libraries and archives meet the statutory requirements as well as ensuring that adult learning meets contractual requirements as most adult learning is funded from external bodies, including the Learning and Skills Council.
How Kate Delivered Impact
Modernisation of library services consolidating and improving resources to increase breadth of service to meet customer needs
Established mixed economy model that has now been recommended to other authorities
Increased service provision and productivity with no increase in staff resource
Improved rating against national standard
Changed trend from negative to positive budget fulfilment
Kate acts as the main interface for the division with a range of stakeholders inside and outside the Council and says: “I have recently led a major library modernisation programme to make the service fit for the 21st century. This includes successfully gaining £7m-worth of capital funding from the Council for a long-needed new archive for the borough.”
Kate works with and contributes to local and national strategic groups, including the Society of Chief Librarians, and is currently chair of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ Public Library Group, the largest special interest group within CILIP.
She had to make a convincing case for the changes and improvements set out in the modernisation programme, clearly identifying the benefits it brings to customers.
“This was especially difficult,” says Kate, “as it included the re-provision of services away from five of the smallest libraries and was, therefore, perceived by many as a cuts programme, not an improvement programme.”
Nevertheless, it has resulted in a net increase in opening hours of 80 hours a week, improved customer service, increased activities and events, improved book stock and information services and better-equipped libraries.
The programme includes a new service called Library Link in areas where traditional library services have not worked or have not existed in the past. Kate reports that in a recent survey of adult users 96 per cent said opening hours are good or very good, compared to 91 per cent when the survey was previously carried out. The number of activities carried out in libraries has also increased.
On winning the award
Kate says: “I am very happy – it has been a real boost to my confidence levels. As a Chartered Librarian I already knew the value of a charter as demonstrating the application of relevant knowledge. The gaining of Chartered Manager status was the obvious next step for me as my career has moved more into management.”
Her colleagues are pleased for her in getting recognition for what she has achieved and her boss Linda Sanders, director of adult community and housing services, said: “Over the last three years Dudley’s library service has been transformed to become a cutting edge service nationally. Kate has been pivotal in driving these changes.”